Wednesday, April 24, 2019

PREGNANCY FILE: AFFORDABLE MATERNITY DRESSES

affordable maternity dressWe have a lot of new things to chat about - and no time to chat about them in! I'll try to give you a quick summary. I am in my third trimester now; turned 28 weeks on Saturday. We also just moved! In case anyone was wondering, I do not recommend moving while six months pregnant. Our home is still upside down. Things are still in boxes, and I have no idea where I'm going to stash all of this makeup that I've hoarded over the years. My feet are swollen, I wake up at all hours, work stress and schedule has not lightened up...oh, and where is my concealer?! I have so many broken capillaries and angiomas from throwing up that I can't live without it.

During my pregnancy, I've been fortunate in that I've not needed to invest in many pieces. I have a really kind co-worker who handed down a few pair of her maternity jeans - I've worn them daily. I purchased a pair from a brand called Angel Maternity. I've pretty much lived in them my entire pregnancy (even arguing an MSJ in the Angel Maternity pair - shhhh.). As for dresses, I've mostly managed to stick with the same dresses I owned before; anything that has stretchy fabric is a 'go' (like this basic jersey dress by Leith). 



Sunday, March 17, 2019

PREGNANCY FILE: PRE-NATAL MASSAGE - THE BILTMORE

Pre-Natal spa review at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami


I recently spent an afternoon at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Our best friend celebrated a surprise birthday, pool side, in a cabana. While we were on site I had my first pre-natal massage and snapped some photos of what I wore. For reference, I'm 22 weeks pregnant in these pictures. 

Click through for my outfit photos. This is look can be both a maternity look and non-maternity look. It's a fun poolside or beach look that is really easy. The outfit is built around a few layers of bright colors with a pop of really bright color from the shoes.  It's a bold color palette, layered over a solid yellow dress. Pretty easy and fun to wear. If you have kids and are going to be running around after them, change out the floor-length duster for something with a slightly shorter hem and keep the flats. I'm 22 weeks pregnant in these pictures.
Cute pool outfit
22 weeks pregnant

Sunday, January 27, 2019

PREGNANCY FILE: PREGNANCY MIGRAINES AND NATURAL SOLUTIONS

Here is what no one tells you - there is a really high possibility that being pregnant will cause a variety of unexpected ailments. Obviously, you can expect what is regularly spoken of; morning sickness and exhaustion during the first trimester - totally expected. Sensitivity to certain smells, yep that happens too, but what I didn't see coming were the migraines.

I've had migraines since high school but did not ever suffer from them to the point where I had several a week. As I got older, I began to have them less and less. Before I got pregnant, I estimate I was getting about 8 or 9 migraines a year. For a migraine sufferer, this is really not bad.
16 weeks.

Over the holidays, we shared our happy news with friends and family. I took a few days off of work. Life was good. On New Year's Eve, I started getting a terrible headache. It lingered through the night, and was gone by morning.
By January 11th, and I'd had 8 migraines since the new year. Twice they've lasted over 48 hours. I would come home from work on Friday, and the migraine would last all of Friday night, and through Saturday day and night. It would linger a bit on Sunday before subsiding. The cycle would start again knowing the stress of my job and the work week were looming. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

PREGNANCY FILE: BEST AND WORST STRETCH MARK CREAMS

Surprise! I'm pregnant. It's a completely new experience for us that has us over the moon with happiness and excitement.  It's the best of times and we have been lucky enough to have had this blessing during the holidays and Christmas. The best.
15 weeks; wearing Annie the Alchemist Estamos Hechos de Estrellas Tee

I just finished my first trimester and starting to show a bit. Based upon mama recs and some reviews, I ordered a few belly creams/ stretch mark creams. I've been testing some out and wanted to share what I've found with you.

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter: $9.79 available at Amazon and Target. This is the winner for me. It comes in a pretty good sized tub. It's easy to spread, absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin really soft. As a bonus, you can also use it on your legs post-shave, and it will work to hydrate. It has a very mild, almost undetectable scent that does not linger.  The Burt's Bee's Mama Bee Belly Butter is labeled as being 99% natural. It is rated a 2 by the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
Burt's Bee's Mama Bee stretch mark cream
If you are unfamiliar with EWG and EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database  (as I was, until fairly recently,) you will want to go online and browse the site. It's a very handy tool if you are trying to cut out toxic and hazardous chemicals that are contained in every day products. EWG ranks products according to how harmful they are; a level 1 rating being the least harmful, a level 10 being the most. EWG also ranks each individual ingredient contained in a product. It's shocking to see the garbage that's in your foundation, blush, dishwashing soap, mascara, etc. Now that baby is coming, I'm trying to be a bit more cautious. This belly butter fits the bill.

EWG Hazard Rating System

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil
:
$9.69, available at Amazon. I'll admit that Palmer's was the first brand that came to mind when thinking about stretch mark creams. I feel like I grew up watching the Palmer's cocoa butter commercials. I didn't purchase that though. I opted for their Skin Therapy Oil. I like that this product contains Argan oil and vitamin E but dislike the heavy fragrance. EWG ranks this product a 3, with the most offensive ingredient being the fragrance, individually ranked as an 8. Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil contains a strong Rosehip scent. I smell it more than I do any trace of the cocoa butter scent. It also unfortunately lingers.  If you are OK with fragrance, or don't mind this particular scent, you will like this product but for me this was a pass.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter
Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil with Rosehip (strongly fragranced).

Earth Mama Belly Oil: $15.00, available at Amazon, Target and the Earth Mama website.
Earth Mama Organics is a great, natural, plant-based product line. When you look at the ingredients contained in the Earth Mama products, you will be able to easily recognize and pronounce them all. This product is rated a 1 on the EWG website - the lowest toxic and safest designation. It contains a blend of pure organic oils as well essential oils like orange blossom. When first applied, this has an organic, earthy scent which quickly dissipates. The product is quite oily but not sticky or tacky. I apply it post-shower, before bed. It has been one of my favorites, so far.

Earth Mama Belly Oil
Earth Mama Belly Oil - a favorite of mine!

Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Defense Oil: $18.99 at Amazon. Contains 6 pure oils, natural and organic. The oil is yellow and leaves a little bit of a yellow tint on the skin. Smells earthy but not overpowering. Does a fantastic job of moisturizing and leaving skin soft and supple. Another great product. 

Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Organic Cocoa Butter + Shea Butter: $19.99 on Amazon. While this has very high ratings, is safe and natural, I did not like the tackiness of this. It was sticky and didn't absorb or apply smoothly. It was tough to distribute on the skin. I also did not like the fragrance. This was my least favorite belly butter that I tried.


Mustela Soothing Moisturizing Balm: $23.00 at Nordstrom. Mustela is a French based brand, best known for its line of baby creams and shampoos. This cream goes on really easy. It spreads evenly and absorbs quickly. It would be perfect were it not for the strong smell. At first, I really enjoyed the scent but as it wore, I found it lingered for hours and was ultimately too much. It is safe to use, being categorized as a 1 on EWG.

Bio Oil $23.99: this was highly recommended by many people but I figured, I had so many other options that I didn't need to try this one. Bio Oil contains chamomile, vitamins A, and E, rosemary and lavender oil. Everywhere you check, this product is consistently sold out because everyone seems to love it. People who aren't pregnant use it to fade stretch marks they've had for years. BUT, the more I read about it the more I hesitated. This is ranked as a 7 on EWG, a category which is designated as "high hazard." It contains Benzyl Salicylate which pregnant women aren't supposed to use. It contains Geraniol, which alone, has an overall EWG ranking of 7. The primary ingredient in Bio Oil is mineral oil - a liquid petroleum by-product. Some argue that the amount of these harmful ingredients in Bio Oil is minimal, for me, this was a pass.

Monday, October 15, 2018

BEAUTY FILE: KERASTASE REFLECTION COLLECTION

As a blogger, I am fortunate in that I get to test a ton of beauty and haircare products. Of course, I am always open to trying out new things, but along the way, I have definitely developed some favorites. The Kerastase Reflection line is one of those newly favorited product launches.


When Kerastase reached out, I was eager to see what they recommended for my hair.  A few years ago, I had a bad cellophane treatment that left my hair dry and prone to breakage. In 2017, I reluctantly dyed my hair for the first time, which resulted in my hair turning a shade too dark for my liking. In order to counteract the black shade, I got highlights. The bleach killed my hair.  I've been growing it out ever since, trying to do what I can to restore it.
KERASTASE REFLECTION SHAMPOO

I have been using the Kerastase Reflection line, consistently, for over three months. My hair is stronger, and softer. It also has a lot more shine. I use the Sulfate Free Shampoo for color treated hair and the Reflection Mask. I do use a drugstore shampoo for my first shampoo, then follow it with the shampoo from the line. I leave the conditioning mask on anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I really coat my hair in the mask and use a good amount.  The conditioning mask has lasted me a full three months. I still haven't gone through a full bottle of the shampoo.  These are high end products which are worth the investment.

KERASTASE REFLECTION REVIEW
Natural hair, no product, and air dried after washing / conditioning with Kerastase Reflection Shampoo and Mask
Kerastase is having a sale on their website. You can now get the Reflection Holiday Gift Set for a special price.  The line is carried at my local CVS. Sephora has also recently started carrying Kerastase!

If you have tried these products out, please leave a comment letting me know what your experience has been.

Kerastase sent me the products in the Reflection line. This post is not sponsored. 

KERASTASE REFLECTION MASK

KERASTASE HAIR MASK REVIEW

KERASTASE REFLECTION CONDITIONER
Natural hair, no product, and air dried after washing / conditioning with Kerastase Reflection Shampoo and Mask

KERASTASE REFLECTION RESULTS

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